Hong Kong law enforcers launched raids against illegal gambling dens across the city over the weekend and arrested a total of 267 people, including 80 non-Chinese.
700 officers from the Police Force’s Organized Crime & Triad Bureau and Immigration Department raided 40 game centers and illegal gambling dens in Yuen Long, the New Territories and Kowloon’s Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po, Sing Tao Daily reported.
They arrested 221 men and 46 women aged between 16 and 76. Of those arrested, 72 men and eight women were from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Egypt, 18 of whom were asylum seekers.
Seven mainland Chinese holding two-way entry permits were also arrested.
440 electronic gaming machines, including fishing game machines, slot machines and roulette machines, were confiscated.
Officers also seized 23 card reading machines, 584 reward points cards, HK$900,000 in cash (US$114,654) and illegal drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and suspected drug paraphernalia.
Police estimated that the 440 gambling machines seized could generate monthly revenue of up to HK$10 million (US$1.27 million).
The bureau sent undercover officers posing as gamblers to the gaming centers to collect intelligence six months ago.
A triad society had reportedly lined up game center licensees to operate the illegal gambling dens. Gamblers had to buy cards which recorded their scores before playing the machines.
Middlemen lured customers to the game center, persuaded them to buy the cards and assisted them to exchange game points for cash, which is illegal.
The gambling syndicate controlling the centers would take around 10% to 20% commission from the exchanged amount while the middlemen could earn a basic salary of HK$4,000 to HK$5,000 a month, plus commission.